Discussion Questions

First Reading 1
Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11

F1. Sinful as we sometimes are, Pope Francis says our main purpose as Church is to “live and bear witness to Jesus, … [to] bring glad tidings to the poor ... [to] set at liberty those who are oppressed.” If you can’t get away to help in Puerto Rico or it’s too dangerous to go to the Sudan, what can you do for the poor, the brokenhearted, the prisoners or captives in your own area?

The Church, believe me, despite all the delays, infidelities, mistakes and sins which it may have committed and can still commit in those who compose it, has no other meaning and purpose than to live and bear witness to Jesus: He who was sent from Abba “to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19).

Rorate Caeli, 
Pope Francis’ reply to Eugenio Scalfari,
atheist co-founder and former editor of
Italy’s most popular newspaper, La Repubblic
Sept. 11, 2013

F2. Isaiah is the first to tell us “to bring glad tidings. … ” Jesus quotes Isaiah next (Luke 4:18-19) and Pope Francis repeats it again. How important is that message to you? Should the fact that we have “mistakes and infidelities” under our belts hinder us? How could those mistakes help us help others? 

Second Reading 2
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

S1. How can you ensure that the Spirit has opportunities to work in you? How can anyone “rejoice always” when they are suffering? Do you know people who seem to do that? Do you find that all things work together for you if you love God? If you realize that, could that be “praying without ceasing”?

S2. What is the relationship between the Holy Spirit working in the depths of your spirit and God’s peace that is applied to your body, soul and spirit?

Gospel
John 1:6-8, 19-28

G1. In the First Reading the Lord sends Isaiah with a message. In the Gospel God sends John to testify to the light of Christ. Does God send you? If you decide to “testify to the light” by helping or looking for Christ in the poor all the time, could that be “praying without ceasing”?

G2. “There is one among you whom you do not recognize … ” Do you recognize Christ in all the different faces and ways he come to you each day?

Anne Osdieck

 

**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson